Harvard physics lecture by Dr. Peter Lu: Quasicrystals in Medieval Islamic Architecture

Harvard University Physics Department Colloquium Lecture, presented on 3 Dec 2007 by Peter J. Lu: “Quasicrystals in Medieval Islamic Architecture” The conventional view holds that girih (geometric star-and-polygon) patterns in medieval Islamic architecture were conceived by their designers as a network of zigzagging lines, and drafted directly with a straightedge and a compass. I will describe recent findings that, by 1200 CE, a conceptual breakthrough occurred in which girih patterns were reconceived as tessellations of a special set of equilateral polygons (girih tiles) decorated with lines. These girih tiles enabled the creation of increasingly complex periodic girih patterns, and by the 15th century, the tessellation approach was combined with self-similar transformations to construct nearly-perfect quasicrystalline patterns. Quasicrystal patterns have remarkable properties: they do not repeat periodically, and have special symmetry—and were not understood in the West until the 1970s. I will discuss some of the properties of Islamic quasicrystalline tilings, and their relation to the Penrose tiling, perhaps the best known quasicrystal pattern. peterlu.org

3 thoughts on “Harvard physics lecture by Dr. Peter Lu: Quasicrystals in Medieval Islamic Architecture

  1. Walid Nouh says:

    <html><head><meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"></head><body dir="auto"><div>Yes, some Muslims can even find the Taj Mahal tomb worthless and a symbol of religious decadence and corruption.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Some zombie muslims can come all the way to Delhi and shrug their shoulders from visiting the tomb of Taj Mahal. Amazing !<br><br>Regards,<div>Walid.</div></div><div><br></div></body></html>

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